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When learning a language, especially a South Asian one such as Urdu, it is important to appreciate differences in registers. A register simply refers to a social level of speech, like the formal speech you would use in a term paper or while delivering a presentation at work as opposed to the informal/colloquial speech you use when speaking to your friends or close family members. In South Asian languages such as Urdu, these registers or levels are more pronounced than in English, for example, so that formal speech often sounds very different from بول چال/bolchaal or informal/colloquial speech. As a language learner, you need to know informal syntax (word order) and vocabulary in order to carry on the most common type of conversation: the colloquial, every day variety. Follow along as I examine some common questions and answers that can be heard in a typical Urdu conversation.
Let’s break down the vocabulary here:
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